Stephen Joseph Fargan EXCLUSIVE

Interview

When did you decide that a career in music was for you?

Long answer:

I became interested in creating music while studying film at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Making student films created a desire to make my own soundtracks and I sought out a wide variety of musical experiences. My coursework in music included Electronic Music, Music as a Creative Experience, Music Merchandising, Piano, and Composition. In my first Electronic Music class I had the pleasure of working on one of the early Moog Modular Synthesizers. In that class I also met Bret Hamilton. We collaborated on and performed many pieces of music. Together we formed the Bolsheviks of Madrid. My interest in music was also encouraged by Jason Ringenberg, who taught me how to be a soundman for some of his bands that included Shakespeare’s Riot, The Catalinas, and even an early gig for Jason and the Scorchers. This led to sound and lighting work with other local bands including The Rollaways, The Boppin’ 88s, as well as David and the Happenings.

 

(Short answer:

A desire to make film soundtracks led to my musical pursuits.)

 

Who are your musical inspirations and why?

I have many musical inspirations. I am fascinated with artists who have a unique style. Musicians who embrace change also impress me. For me, these artists include Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Devo, Bill Nelson, Gary Numan, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, and David Bowie 

Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?

  1. I competed in gymnastics for six years.

  2. I appeared in a television commercial promoting the Nevada State Education Association.

  3. As of this October, I have skied 204 consecutive months.

What song of yours best describes you and why?

I would answer that with a Suite rather than just one song. The 12 part Snowpeggio Suite on my Depth of Feel album describes a wide variety of feelings that I experience while skiing. One end of the spectrum is a feeling of joy when something comes easy. The other end of the spectrum is a feeling of accomplishment when overcoming challenging situations. 

What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?

Perhaps it was when The Bolsheviks of Madrid performed in funky hall in Southern Illinois called The Old Baptist Foundation. The audience participation and involvement made the night special and unforgettable. An unplanned moment of the show involved being chased off the stage and out of the hall by a friend wearing a pro wrestling mask. The front doors locked behind us and we had to crawl back into the hall through a window above our surprised audience.

If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?

I believe that the venue would be Barbican Centre. It would be amazing to hear the London Symphony Orchestra play some of my compositions and have these be included in a film soundtrack.

What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?

I think that my sixth album, Depth of Feel is some of best the work that I have done so far in terms of growth. This growth can continue to evolve on my next album. It would be wonderful to hear my music in a feature film, a television show, or even a commercial jingle. 

Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?

I attended a party after an Ultravox concert where a pilot for a television show was being filmed. I met and spoke with the host of the show, actor John Candy. His presence is missed.

What do you like best about being a musician and why?

The best thing about being a musician is feeling and sharing joy. This can occur when creating music and listening to music. 

If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?

Chasing snowstorms around the world and experiencing mountain bliss.

What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?

The best gig I have been to as a fan was when I saw Devo. It was like trick or treating with a soundtrack for the entire evening. The atmosphere outside of the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago was like celebrating Halloween in the middle of summer with almost everyone dressed up in some way or another. Prior to the show, they played recorded muzak versions of their songs followed by some short films. During the show they were energetic and as musicians they were a really tight band. Even after the show fans were still buzzing like they were kids who had eaten too much Halloween candy.  

 

What would your ideal festival line up be and why?

My answer would be close to the same as my answer for musical inspirations. Of course, it would be even more fun if those artists invited some of their friends to join in too.

What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Remember the influence of example.

What things make you happy and what things annoy you?

Powder skiing makes me extremely happy.

I can be annoyed by a lack of awareness.

What things do you like to do when you are away from music?

I like skiing and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and our dogs.

Do you think social media and the Internet are a good thing in the music industry?

Social media and the Internet are changing how the music industry operates. This can be looked at in a couple of ways. In one way, as a listener, there is so much music that is now available. In another way, as an artist, it can be challenging to have your music be chosen when so much is out there. More opportunities should be a good thing.

How important do you think your look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?

The feeling of the sound is most important. However, it is also important to have fun with looks and image.  

Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?

So far I only have one tattoo. It is a tattoo of my wedding ring. This signifies love and commitment.

If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?

I would permanently remove corporate control over government. Decisions could be based on love instead of money.

What would your ideal day consist of?

My ideal day would start by waking up early to ski fresh powder in the morning. This would be followed by a picnic lunch out on the snow with my wife and our dogs. Dinner would be sushi, my favorite food. After that I would play and record some music inspired by the day’s experiences.

What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations? Can you tell us how this has affected you personally, how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?

These are challenging times. This brings up a lot of introspection combined with finding new ways of connecting with others.

In April my cousin passed away from Covid 19. Family and friends are deeply affected by this, and it certainly reminds me to evaluate what is really important.

In terms of messages, two things come to mind. One is “Duty now for the future.” Be responsible and considerate of others so that we can have a better future. The other is “Have safe fun!” You can still enjoy life while making sound decisions. 

If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?

Thank you! This would be to show appreciation.

How would you answer the question Who are you? and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music ?

I am a passionate person and a creative artist. These traits are present when I’m doing music as well as at other times, so there really isn’t a difference.

What was the first record or song you purchased and why?

I’m not sure if I recall the first record since I have bought so many. One of my favorite and most significant purchases was the album Low by David Bowie.

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?

Enjoy the interaction with others.

If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?

Daryl Hall. It would be exciting to be invited to appear on Live From Daryl’s House. He is so gifted and he has done fantastic work with so many creative, talented musicians. 

If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?

If I had to pick just one song, it would be “At Last.” Etta James’ version always seems to bring up an emotional response.

What things make you uncomfortable?

Hot weather. If it is cold, you can always put on more clothes. If it is hot, and you take off all of your clothes and you are still hot.

If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?

If I wrote a book it would be a collection of funny stories that I have shared with my friends.

What has the rest of the year got in store for you?

I have already started recording tracks for my next album. I am also looking forward to the snow flying this winter.